Historically the major proportion of production technology activities have been concerned with the engineering and installation of the down hole completion equipment. The completion string is a critical component of the production system and to be effective it must be efficiently designed, installed and maintained. Increasingly, with moves to higher reservoir pressures and more hostile development areas, the actual capital costs of the completion string has become a significant proportion of the total well cost and thus worthy of greater technical consideration and optimisation.
The well completion process can be split into several key areas which require to be defined including :
- The fluids which will be used to fill the wellbore during the completion process must be identified, and this requires that the function of the fluid and the required properties be specified.
- The completion must consider and specify how the fluids will enter the wellbore from the formation i.e., whether infact the well will be open or whether a casing string will be run which will need to be subsequently perforated to allow a limited number of entry points for fluid to flow from the reservoir into the wellbore.
- The design of the completion string itself must provide the required containment capability to allow fluids to flow safely to the surface with minimal loss in pressure. In addition however, it would be crucial that the string be able to perform several other functions which may be related to safety, control, monitoring, etc. In many cases the completion must provide the capacity for reservoir management. The completion string must consider what contingencies are available in the event of changing fluid production characteristics and how minor servicing operations could be conducted for example, replacement of valves etc.
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